my name is Donald and I am fifteen years old. I love my parents I
really do but they are the unluckiest parents ever. It's in the
planning department where the trouble lay. If they don't plan it,
just do it then all is well, if they do then some disaster usually
happens. The worst disasters were usually reserved for holiday time
but we managed to survive them all and always had fantastic stories
to tell when we got back to school.
was dad's idea and he seemed to have got it right this time. There is
a company that owns an island just offshore. Not very big although it
takes about fifteen minutes to walk around it. There are no buildings
on the island and you must carry everything in and out excepting
waste. There was a big water storage tank there. They supply and set
everything up for you.
was lots of fun. We all traveled in the ferry together and as they
set up the camp Georgina and I explored the island. We found another
camp site on the other side. They're was nobody in it though. Mum and
dad had started to help the guys set up the tent but they just got in
the way so they sat on the beach and sunbaked.
the camp was all set up it started to get dark so we all changed into
our pajamas, sat around the campfire talking then went to bed. No
sooner were we asleep when I felt a hand over my mouth and a cloth
against my nose and I blacked out. When I regained conscious we were
all tied up together and gagged in the main tent. It was pitch black
outside and standing over us were four men hooded and in some kind of
uniform. They all carried guns. One of the men looked at mum who
muttered something in her gag and glared at him, dad and I gave him
our worst scowl and Georgina just trembled.
sir," a British voice said "nobody said anything about
'Sir' could reply there was a flash of a flare and the sound of a
helicopter then a thud. Another man brought a package in.
dropped a radio sir" a broad Scottish voice said. Sir picked up
the radio and spoke into it.
demand a helicopter, supplies and a safe passage out of here or we
will kill the hostages".
began negotiating and talking about this and that and stopped taking
any notice of us. Dad meanwhile got his hands free then mums. He told
her to pretend to still be tied up and run when he gave the word. We
all managed to get untied when a man came in and herded us into a
group outside. Gradually the man talking into the radio seemed to
get more and more angrier till finally he said "that's it, we're
going to shoot the hostages. We will start with the girl"
girl" came over the radio.
then dad picked up a thick branch and hit the man guarding us causing
him to drop his gun.
dad yelled and mum and I ran into the darkness. One of the gunmen
shot at dad and put three bullets in his back then two in mum. Both
were thrown to the ground and lay there quite still. I jumped beneath
a large log but not, however, our tiny little fourteen year old
Georgina. She picked up the gun dropped by the gunman pointed it at
the nearest man and pulled the trigger. She held on to it for dear
life and bullets went everywhere. Just at that time the "rescuing
men dropped from ropes from a helicopter and six landed and ran up
the little beach. Georgina didn't care, her bullets were going
everywhere and men were dropping like flies. Of course the rescuers
did not know Georgina was behind this and returned fire but luck held
for our little heroine and none hit her. Eventually she ran out of
bullets and some one grabbed the gun from her. She stood there
defiantly and awaited her maker.
a voice boomed out. "Well you are a great bunch of no hoppers."
and a huge man in a sergeants uniform stepped into the camp. He
raised Georgina's right hand into the air.
declare this young lass the winner of the hostage exercise. She
singlehandedly defeated not only the terrorists but the rescuing
forces as well."
all the dead soldiers got up off the ground and dusted themselves
off. Mum and dad also strode into the clearing, their backs all
covered in red demanding to know what was going on.
had inadvertently, again, got caught up in a military training
exercise. The bullets were a high tech version of paint-balls. Mum
and dad had bruises for weeks after. The hostages were supposed to be
in the other camp site. The camping company was only supposed to have
one camp site but thought they would make some extra cash by putting
us on the other side of the island. Unfortunately the army seen us
first and thought we were hostages. They were very good to us though.
They flew us out on their chopper to the destroyer and gave us a
personalized tour and a slap up dinner. Then they all lined up and
presented Georgina with her very own medal for bravery under fire and
saluted her. She never stopped talking about it for months and kept
dragging me of to paint ball skirmishes where I always end up
slaughtered and covered in paint.
boating holiday was mums idea. We had gone to one of those boating
camping and fishing expos and she came across a boating holiday where
you sail your own boat. She kept quiet for a few days then exploded
the bomb shell.
are going on a boating holiday" she announced "we are going
to rent one of those sail it yourself boats in the Whitsunday
was Georgina that broke the silence.
you know how many things could go wrong with that"
Dad said, "the wind could stop blowing"
got an outboard engine" she countered.
could sink" I said.
got life belts and a little boat."
could get scurvy," moaned Georgina. We all ignored that one.
know, I know" said mum, "but I've got it all worked out"
mean you have a plan" groaned Dad.
just it. We won't use a plan. We will just go and arrange things as
they come up"
mad" I said, "you have to book these things in months in
advance. Especially the airline ticket. "
she said, " we will go standby. Come on let's get packed."
are we going now"
silly, tomorrow morning"
mum, I was going to go to the mall with Brenda"
I have football practice tomorrow"
I have got a new computer game I want to play" said dad.
look on mums face was so full off hurt and disappointment that dad
said, "OK kids go pack your stuff and don't forget your
emergency kits. We might as well be prepared"
were at the airport by noon next day and stood at the Jet stars
Madam. We don't sell standby tickets" said the ticket clerk with
a look that seemed to suggest mum was from the dinosaur age, "but
we do have four seats left on the next flight I can let you have for
forty percent off."
mum shot back.
and that's my final offer" and the clerk sat back in her seat
with her arms folded.
said mum and we were on the plane in less than an hour. It was so
cool. We weren't even sitting together. I was next to this real cute
friendly girl, Georgina was next to a young mother with her baby
(Georgina loves babies. She is going to have ten one day. Not all at
once I think). Mum was next to a handsome businesses man and she
talked and giggled the whole flight. Poor dad was stuck between two
rather obese people, one of whom smelled rather badly.
landed in Cairns rather late in the evening and got a taxi to take us
to a motel. I was a bit jumpy by now as nothing had gone wrong.
stop worrying", mum said. "Remember we just don't plan
anything. " It did seem to be working.
next day we went around the Harbor and every tourist shop in Cairns
but there was no boat to be had for miles around. Mum was getting
quite upset and kept crying and saying she dragged us up here for
nothing and then dad came back with the news that he met this guy in
a pub and he said there was a yacht for hire in some little village
down south. Mum perked up immediately.
is village" Mum asked.
five hundred kilometers South off here."
tried everything to get to this village. Trains and planes and buses.
As soon as we said we wanted to get to it there was no cars available
for hire either. We were quite disappointed and wondering what to do
when mum said, "Were planning again that's the problem. Come on
follow me" picked up her pack and marched off. We eventually
picked her up in the taxi dad had flagged down.
might as well take this as far as we can,” he said.
rode in the taxi as far as dad's money would take us but we still had
about four hundred and fifty kilometers to go. We walked for about
three hours with our thumbs up but no lift. Then dad just happened to
tell mum to stop hitching her skirt up her thighs as she was probably
past it by now which prompted mum to retort that he was probably
going to spend the rest of his life in the garage. During the ensuing
domestic squabble no one noticed this enormous truck coming to a
folks need a lift somewhere" he asked in a long slow drawl that
definitely was not Australian. He was, in fact, from the South of
the USA. All four of us clambered into to his enormous cabin. Mum and
dad squashed up next to him, Georgina and I squatting on the floor.
I yell duck you kids duck. We don't want trouble with the cops"
had a fantastic time listening to his stories about trucking. He was
traveling the world as a truck driver and once he was finished this
contract here he was going home. As mum was sitting next to him the
two flirted the whole trip and you could see dad fuming. Before we
knew it the truck rolled to a stop and Ollie, thats right Ollie,
said, "Well folks time to part company. The village you want is
about thirty kilometers down that road.".
all clambered out said goodbye and the truck roared off and then we
noticed the road we had to go down. No wonder we couldn't hire a car.
everybody" said mum cheerily, "let's go" and started
striding down the road. Dad followed but he was in a foul mood and
must have decided to continue the squabble so the two of them strode
out in front merrily exchanging verbal blows and completely ignoring
us two struggling along behind. This continued for about an hour as
we made our way along the dusty, rocky,and rut filled road when we
crossed a ridge and were making our way down the other side when
suddenly there was a frantic tooting of a horn. We all turned around
to see a battered old Ute sliding and swerving straight for us. As
one we all leaped out of its way. Dad and I lifted ourselves out of
the pile of dust and Georgina helped untangle mum from the bush she
the big bronzed weather beaten old man said "stone the crows,
don't you fellas know this is a road."
looked liked she was going to murder the driver so dad stepped in and
said" Would you mind giving us a lift to the village at the end
of this road".
do you want to go to that dump for" and Dad explained we were
looking for the fellow that rents out the yacht.
thats my brother Zacharia. I'll take you to him." So Georgina
and I climbed on the back of the Ute and hung on for dear life while
dad and mum got in the front, dad making sure that this time he was
in the middle between mum and the driver. Septimus, our driver, had
driven up from Brisbane to visit his brother before heading off to
Darwin. We arrived at his brothers place which was a big house next
to a pier with quite a decent sized yacht moored there. When mum and
dad seen us as they got out of the Ute they almost collapsed with
laughter. We were covered head to toe in dust. We were both pretty
furious with our parents, especially Georgina, but we changed into
our bathers and jumped off the pier. We pretty soon forgave them.
Zacharia and Septimus finally met it was with a lot of booming voices
and five minutes of insulting each other. Zacharia was a smaller,
younger version of Septimus. Eventually the insults ended and
Zacharia yelled for a slab of beer. A young plump attractive blond
woman appeared effortlessly carrying a slab of beer on her shoulder.
don't know about you two" she looked pointedly at mum and dad,
"but if these two old bastards get drunk they can sleep on the
yacht tonight," and marched off. When the four of them had
polished off the slab (mum can put away her share of beer just as
good as any man) Zacharia took them on the yacht.
certainly was for hire. A young Japanese couple had just canceled
when they discovered they get very sea sick. It was a dual hulled
type not luxurious but clean and very sound. Zacharia said it would
take a couple of days to provision it but we could stay at the pub in
the village till it was ready. The village was about a kilometer down
the track. Julie, the blond woman, would drive us there. Julie
turned out to be Zacharia's daughter. His wife had died several years
drove them in a brand new four wheel drive Toyota but she was
sullenly quiet for the whole trip. They later found out that she was
about to leave the village with her fiancée when her mother died and
she couldn't bring herself to leave her grieving dad. The fiancée
left anyway and never spoke to her again. She never got over it some
pub was awesome. It sat right on the beach and you could sit on the
veranda watching the waves roll in. It was very quiet during the week
but got quite busy on the weekend. There was only ever two customers
during the day and they sat in the same spot every time. The barmaid
reckoned they were that old the pub was built around them. In the
late afternoon and onwards a few more men turned up coming in after
work before going home. All this meant we had the pub pretty much to
ourselves. The barmaid was a backpacker from New Zealand that liked
the place so much she stayed. She got on so well with dad she even
let him pull his own beer. It was mums turn to get jealous.
yacht became ready before the weekend so we never got to see what it
was like then. Instead we stood on the deck of the yacht for our
first lesson. I couldn't believe that mum got us here on a yacht all
the way from Sydney without the slightest plan and nothing went
wrong. Dad led the three cheers for mum, gave her a big hug and a
sloppy kiss then for some reason she started crying. Women, I just
don't understand them.
this is where everything went wrong. Without anyone realizing it dad
made a plan. He plotted his way out the little Harbor into the sea.
Plotting is a maritime version of planning. When the time came to
leave on our own dad plotted a course and mum followed it telling dad
which way to steer. What always causes our plans to go astray is
always a combination of bad luck and misinformation. In this case the
bad luck was a sand bank forming a few weeks ago and not on the
charts and some idiot putting the wrong navigation marker down, a
port instead of a starboard marker. If dad had never made a plan we
would never have sailed so close to that island.
was happily following dad's course and dad proudly piloting the boat.
Mum sees the marker and directs dad around straight on to the
sandbank. The stop was that abrupt poor Georgina slid down the deck
and shot off into the water, dad bounced of the steering wheel, I
grabbed hold of a rail and stopped myself going overboard and mum
bounced around a bit but was unhurt.
grabbed a lifebuoy and ran to help Georgina but she was OK. The water
was only waist deep but she was in shock and crying. Dad jumped in
and carried her back to the boat. We all gathered in the yacht and
let the shock dissipate then checked the yacht for damage but it was
safe and sound just stuck. Mum said we should radio for help but dad
said the next high tide would float us off. We just had to wait. I
wished we had listened to mum.
approached and we were beginning to enjoy ourselves. Mum cooked up a
nice tea and we told each other ghost stories. Time came to go to bed
and we were sound asleep. Not for long though, we were all woken up
to the sound of the wind in the rigging. A very nasty squall had
descended upon us. It was terrifying especially as we couldn't do
anything. We prayed and prayed that nothing would happen until a huge
gust of wind coupled with an enormous wave lifted the yacht up and
pushed it much further on to the sandbank. It also broke our radio
mast. When morning came it became evident we were no longer going too
float off the sandbank. We were well and truly stuck and we couldn't
call for help. Of our ten day yachting holiday we spent two lovely
days sailing and eight days exploring a tiny island no one ever came
the twelfth day the coast Guard turned up. Zacharia began to get
worried when we didn't turn up and he couldn't contact us on the
radio. He wasn't upset about the damage to his boat but he wouldn't
give us our money back either. Instead he took us all up to the pub.
It was the weekend and it was fabulous. He even arranged for a friend
to take us all back to Cairns. We caught a flight home and though the
holiday ended in the usual disaster we all thought mum done a
brilliant job getting us there.
Greenie holiday was my fault. I went through one of those "enter
every contest" phases and the only thing I won was the holiday.
I knew what it was when it arrived in the post and I was debating
whither to throw it in the rubbish bin as I didn't feel like another
disaster. Dad thought the letter was for him as our initials are the
same and opened it. He immediately gathered us around and announced
we were going on holiday to the rain-forests of Northern Queensland.
plane trip to Cairns passed quite uneventfully and we were picked up
in a mini bus and taken to the resort. The resort was really cool.
It had a swimming pool, tennis court and a games center. There was
about half a dozen shops and a couple of restaurants and bars
arranged like a little market place. The bungalows were quite
comfortable but rather rudimentary. One of the things I liked best
was that we could have our breakfast in the market place. Every one
would just turn up in their pajamas.
main attraction was the scenic walks. These were boardwalks
constructed through the trees with scenic views, picnic spots and
safe swimming holes. We chose the longest one that ended in a huge
lookout towering above the rain forest canopy. Unfortunately we did
not have any sense of the disaster awaiting us.
started on the journey with light backpacks. The journey was actually
overnight with a cabin at the end of the walk. When we entered the
walkway it gently sloped upwards for some distance till we were
twenty to twenty five feet above the floor of the forest. After
about an hours walk we came across one of those swaying bridges you
always see in the movies. Wooden slats fastened to ropes strung
across the gap. It was more of a tourist prop than a bridge and there
was a sign saying hold on tightly to the safety ropes.
decided to go first and she weighs hardly anything. She walked onto
the bridge feeling quite secure. I got on next and weighing a bit
heavier caused the bridge to wobble. Dad came next and thundered on
to the bridge with the full force of his not inconsiderable weight.
The shock wave rippled down the rope bridge causing me to grip the
safety rope tighter but it hit poor Georgina flipping her onto her
butt and she slid off the bridge under the safety rope and started a
twenty five foot descent to the ground.
a large tree branch interrupted her fall. When they reached the spot
where she fell over and looked down they found her lying astride a
huge branch motionless. Dad yelled out "Georgina are you OK".
sat up on the branch and replied "Yes"
on, Donald will go and get help".
bother. I can climb back up." She proceeded to scale the tree
branches till she was on the one just above us. We all got together
to steady the bridge and help her down. We finished crossing the
bridge then mum inspected Georgina for damage. Apart from a small
scratch and bruise on her face she was OK.
continue on our walk admiring the flowers, birds and trees when we
approached a large branch overhanging the path. Mum was leading
followed by Georgina. Suddenly Georgina yelled out "snake"
and mum looked up. There on the branch was the biggest snake I had
ever seen eying mum off like she was next months dinner. Mum gave an
enormous shriek and jumped backwards right through the wooden hand
rail and down she went. The snake meanwhile disgusted at losing its
meal slithered off. We rushed to the side and there was mum entangled
about six feet down on a bunch of vines.
on" dad said "I'll come down to help you".
no" mum said. "If Georgina can get back up by herself I'm
damn sure I can" then launched herself up and grabbed a vine
growing on the tree. Unfortunately it was not attached strongly
enough and it ripped away. Down went mum with another shriek then
off she went swinging like Tarzan through the jungle straight into
the trunk of a tree. This time however she stayed there and luckily
the path passed right above her. "Alright alright" she
moaned, "come and get me".
was Georgina's turn to inspect mum and declared her fit apart from
the large bruise on her forehead so we continued on. The wooden path
meandered through the forest high up in the branches and we became
conscious of the sound of a waterfall.
we rounded the bend in the path we came into full view of the
waterfall. It was truly beautiful. It fell about ten feet above us
and descended twenty below. The wooden path stopped next to it and a
little rock ledge had been carved out behind the fall then the path
continued on. There was a sign warning us to be prepared to get wet.
We all edged onto the ledge and stood there watching and listening to
the rushing water. We were not sure what quite happened but we think
dad lost his footing and slid into the path of the water fall and
started to fall over. Mum tried to grab him but the extra force of
the falling water pulled the both of them over. Georgina and I tried
to grab onto to them but we also lost our footing and slid off the
the four of us went into the pond. Thankfully we were all strong
swimmers and the backpacks and clothes didn't weigh much. When we
dropped into the pond the current from the falling water pushed me
down. I just swan with it then out sideways and up to the surface.
Mum was already at the surface and Georgina appeared soon after. We
waited anxiously for dad then he appeared. Being heavier he sank
where all OK so we stripped to our undies and had a good swim while
our outer clothes dried. We got dressed and slowly climbed up to the
path and continued on. Eventually Georgina spotted the flying Fox
going down to the picnic ground and dad thought that would be a good
place to have lunch. Unfortunately nobody noticed the steps leading
down a bit further on.
the flying Fox was manned by a rum-soaked gnarled old man who didn't
seem to inspire any confidence and somehow the popular vote put me
first on the flying Fox. The old man was amazingly efficient and
skilled at fixing the harness and I managed to stay conscious from
the alcoholic vapors coming from him as he told me how to use the
brakes then he shoved me off the boardwalk and into the air. I
descended down the rope in fits and starts. In a very ungainly and
unprofessional manner until I reached the ground. I then fumbled as I
undid the harness.
next to go was Georgina. She waited eagerly as the old man connected
up her harnesses. The alcoholic vapors did not bother her at all (I
wonder about that girl sometimes) as she listened to the instructions
then she launched herself off the wooden path into mid air. She
zoomed down the rope at supersonic speed prompting a cry of "be
careful" from mum. She applied the brake at just the right time
and slid to a perfect landing. Two flicks of her wrist and she undid
her harnesses, smirked at me, crossed her arms and stood there with a
pleased look on her face.
was dad. He glided down perfectly and came to a soft landing then it
was mum's turn. She was determined not to be outdone by the rest of
her family so she suffered the alcoholic vapors and wandering hands
of the old man as he hooked her up then she gingerly launched herself
into the air. At first she traveled well but about a third of the way
down she applied the brake suddenly. Then she tried to release the
brake but couldn't.
stuck" she yelled.
worry" the old man yelled back "this happens occasionally".
started to jerk on the retrieval rope more and more viciously causing
mum to sway back and forth but the brake would not release. Dad
rushed over to the intercom and asked the old man what the problem
brakes stuck solid" he said "I will have to go and get some
help. I will be back as soon as I can."
grabbed his bottle of rum and took off. However when he got to the
swaying bridge he had consumed most of the bottle and fell of the
bridge when he tried to cross it. He had the usual luck of drunk
people and landed unharmed but he promptly fell asleep.
back at the disaster site mum was getting more and more frantic.
me down" she yelled "I'm terrified".
worry" dad yelled,"help is on its way"
help wasn't on its way. The afternoon crept in bringing the usual
storms and in true disaster fashion this one came early. It started
with high gusty winds which blew poor mum violently back and forth
and spun her around and around.
getting sea sick" she moaned.
the lightning started followed by the crashing of thunder then mums
screams and then the rain started. The ones on the ground ran for
cover in the picnic shelter but poor mum got the full force of the
falling rain which was so heavy they couldn't hear her through the
noise. The rain eventually stopped and poor mum hung there swinging
gently in the breeze, a soaked, saturated mess. There was a little
stream of water running from the toes of her shoes.
got to do something dad. It will be dark soon"
Give me your Swiss army knife". My Swiss army knife was a
beauty. It had everything you needed to survive our disasters. Dad
took the knife and ran up the steps to the top of the flying Fox. He
broke into the old mans locker and found some rope amongst the empty
bottles of rum. He made a safety harness and tied it onto the flying
Fox rope then slid down to mum.
alright honey. I'm here now."
little whimper was the reply. Dad inspected the brake and found that
a twig had somehow got jammed in there.
now listen carefully honey. I want you to hold the brake rope
tightly. I don't want you to run off without me when I release the
brake. Do you understand"
was another little whimper in the affirmative and the brake rope
tightened. Dad worked on the twig with the knife sawing and cutting
till it was clear. Then he cut himself free from his safety harness
and swung his body down till he could wrap his legs around mums. With
one hand he gripped the rope above her head and with the other
grasped the brake rope. Mum let go of the rope and wrapped her arms
round dads waist, buried her head in his chest and began sobbing. Dad
slowly released the brake and the two slowly slid down the rope till
they were safely on the ground then they unhooked mum from the
harnesses. Dad and I helped her up the steps. Georgina ran ahead and
found the cabin and returned with a warm blanket for mum.
we got to the cabin I got the fire going and sat mum in front of it.
I got her a cup of coffee. She took a sip then sighed and said to dad
"it would be nice if there was something stronger in this".
Dad grinned and pulled a half bottle of rum from his back pocket
do? " he asked.
morning came and mum had recovered from the ordeal. We got our packs
together and set out to climb the tower blissfully unaware of the
final disaster. The tower was indeed tall and it was climbed by means
of a long and meandering ladder disappearing upwards broken only by
little platforms that had little seats to rest on. The ladders were
also fully enclosed so that you couldn't fall off. The climb upwards
was laborious but we enjoyed it, stopping many times for rests and
photographs. Eventually we reached the last resting platform. The
ladder on this last stage was not attached to the frame of the tower
but simply with two bolts attaching it to the platform and two bolts
attaching it to the floor of the lookout. This last section was no
problem to climb.
spent the next hour and a half drinking in the scenery of the forest
canopy. Gentle rolling hills of all shades of green spread out around
us with masses of flowers providing great splashes of color. Several
flocks of birds flew everywhere. We all had something to eat and
drink then decided it was time to head for home. Dad went to go down
the ladder first. He put his full weight on the first rung then gave
a yelp and dropped down through the door in the floor. He just
managed to grab hold of the handrails then hung there with his feet
swinging in the air. The top bolts in the ladder finally gave way.
They had been slowly rusting over the years. We pulled dad up and
surveyed the scene. There was no way to get down. It might have been
possible to drop down but it was also highly likely you would fall
off the platform. Georgina volunteered to hang off dad's feet but mum
vetoed that idea.
were stuck there for four days. We had shelter and water but we ran
out of food on the first day. We thought about lighting a fire but
even if we could we were afraid do it because of the risk of setting
the lookout on fire. On the fifth day we were getting very hungry and
scared when we were found by a bunch of Swedish tourists. The men
raised the ladder and held it steady so we could all come down. The
resort management was very apologetic about everything. Apparently
when the old man woke up he totally forgot why he was there and
simply went back to work. We managed to get an extra five nights out
of this and we spent every day in the pool and games room. We had
enough of environmental walks
has an elder sister, aunt Margaret. She has never married and this
really annoyed mum although she would never admit it. It's not that
aunt Margaret dislikes men its the marriage bit she detested.
is always trying to find men for aunty to marry and this was the
cause of our latest holiday disaster. Mum came up with the idea we
should all go to a Pacific Island resort. There's bound to be plenty
of men out there. Mum emailed aunty Margaret who was fully aware of
1) our holiday disasters and 2) mums matchmaking and answered in a
reply email one word with a one hundred and fifty point typeface
'NO'. Mum is persistent however and after about fifty email exchanges
aunty gave in and we all arrived safely at the resort.
breakfast next morning mum spied her target. She very cunningly found
out that his name was Bill and he planned to go on a canoe trip to a
native village tomorrow morning. It consisted of three self paddle
ten-seater canoes with one guide per canoe. The next morning the five
of us turned up at the little Wharf. Mum cunningly mustered us near
Bill ignoring the apprehensive looks from her husband and the
suspicious ones from her sister. Fate intervened however in the form
of a fracas just as we were about to board the canoes. Two teenage
boys started fighting over, naturally, a girl. In the ensuing melee
we got separated with Bill, me and mum going on one canoe and the
rest in another and as a sort of forewarning of what was to come mum
stood on Bill's hand when she boarded the canoe.
broken my bloody hand" he yelled in pain. Big baby, mums done
much worse than that to other people. Then to pile on more injury she
kept hitting him on the head with her paddle, quite accidentally of
course. However, just to show you how clever mum actually is she
found out from him that he was a dentist, unmarried or engaged and
lived quite near her sister. Poor fellow, he should have realized
'loose lips sink ships'.
all paddled off and up the river for about an hour without any major
thing going wrong. The other two canoes were much further ahead for
some reason but nobody was concerned and then they rounded a bend in
the river leaving us on our own. It's as if disaster was waiting for
just the right moment. Mum let out an enormous shriek and stood up.
a bloody big spider crawling up my leg" and in her panic knocked
it flying onto Bill's head where it promptly ran down his back under
his tee-shirt. Naturally he jumped up and started thrashing his back
and struggling to get the tee-shirt off, fighting against mums help.
Of course all this was making the canoe unstable and two more people
stood up in an effort to get them to sit down. It was all too much
and the canoe slowly tipped over and all ten people fell into the
river with Bill thrashing madly in the water.
everyone could swim and they all made it to the river bank safely but
the banks on this stretch of river was nothing but mud. Thick black
oozing mud. They spent the next half hour slipping, sliding, falling
and crawling in the mud before a canoe came back for them.
Unfortunately the canoe that came back contained Auntie Margaret and
dad and when they saw mum and I totally covered in mud they almost
fell out of the canoe laughing.
worry Donald" she snarled "they will pay for this later".
guide on the canoe yelled to our guide that he had radioed for help
and it would be here in half an hour. Since there was nothing he
could do he would continue on. Without consulting us he said "OK"
and the canoe went off. We sat there waist deep in mud for an hour
after and when the launch finally came they wouldn't let any of us on
till they had hosed us down, we were that covered in mud.
old Bill had to spend three days in hospital. The Spider bit him. It
wasn't poisonous but Bill had an allergic reaction to it and blew up
like a balloon. Mum felt that sorry for him she took him some flowers
on the day he was due to be released and a bee flew out of the bunch
and stung him on the nose. He spent another two days in hospital.
managed to avoid mum for the next few days but one day she overheard
him mention that he had entered the tennis tournament. Now it just
happened that mum and aunty were quite good at tennis and used to
play doubles together many years ago. Mum sneaked off to the notice
board and found Bill had put his name down so mum put aunty
Margaret's name against Bill as a partner in the mixed doubles and
her own name in another spot. She found her sister and told her she
had entered both of them in the tennis competition. Her sister just
said "Hmm, thats nice dear" absentmindedly and continued
reading her book and sipping her Martini. She had long ago mastered
the technique of tuning her annoying little sister out.
disaster was watching closely and on the day of the match aunty
Margaret had a bad dose of the cramps and decided to spend the day in
bed and Mums partner broke his toe water skiing. This meant that Bill
and mum were thrown together as a mixed double. Now I actually didn't
see the disaster as dad and I had gone fishing, native style, so mum
took Georgina along for moral support. Poor mum, she didn't realize
Georgina was afflicted with the same disaster gene. I will pass the
story over to Georgina.
didn't really want to go as this cute guy was looking me over at the
juice bar and I decided to make myself approachable but mum kept
asking and asking so I had to agree just to shut her up.
guy Bill looked like he was going to have a heart attack when he
realized he was going to be partnered with mum but when they began to
warm up during the training sessions he began to realize how good mum
actually was and began to cheer up. Steadily they managed to defeat
their opponents making their way to the finals. Mum was now getting
on so well with Bill they were having more chats over drinks. Mum
seemed very curious about him for some reason.
and Bill made the finals and I volunteered to be netball girl. You
know the one that retrieves the balls when they hit the net. Of
course the fact that the guy I had the crush on was watching had
nothing to do with it. The play started and mum and Bill were superb
but the other team was just as good. They fought each other hard but
the score kept even with neither side getting the lead. I was getting
more and excited and then it happened. The other side returned the
ball with a high lob. I could see mum had locked on to its trajectory
and began winding back for one of her mighty smashes. Bill seen it
also and began to move into position.
can recall it now like it was yesterday. I was so excited I jumped up
to get ready to cheer and yell. I jumped up so fast I forgot about
the tennis ball in my lap. It flew off and rolled onto the court. Mum
had shifted her foot to position it for a better grip and the ball
rolled right under it. Mums foot slipped of and she started to twist.
Meanwhile her powerful swing missed the ball and the unspent energy
ripped the racket from her hand straight into the advancing Bill's
nose with a sickening thud.
stopped short and fell flat on his back unconscious. Meanwhile mum
legs shot up into the air and she landed on her back. She lay there
holding her ankle. I watched the whole scene with the horrid
knowledge it was all my fault. Poor Bill spent another three days in
hospital while they fixed his broken nose and mum had to hobble
around on crutches with a torn ankle ligament. I felt that sorry for
mum I offered to do the housework for a month but she simply just
sighed and said "bring me a double Martini".
will let mum tell you about the final disaster.
finally managed to get Margaret and Bill together, or so I thought.
They all went off on a cruise up the river. A bit like the canoe but
in luxury and no chance of capsizing. I was sitting with my bad foot
resting on a stool with my crutches next to me on a chair. I was
contently sipping my wine when Bill plumped himself down in a chair
beside me. Apparently the ticket he had purchased was for a friend,
he had no desire to go on the river again, understandably.
was surprised he even wanted to talk to me but he didn't blame me for
the tennis thing, at least not directly and anyway he was really
impressed by my tennis playing so we spent some time talking tennis.
He got up and bought me a drink and when he brought it back I asked
him to get me a little cheese plate they had just brought out.
got up, passed in front of me and got his legs entangled in my
crutches and went straight down to the floor. Instinctively I stood
up to help him forgetting about my bad foot. A bolt of pain shot up
my leg and automatically put my weight on my good leg. Unfortunately
I was standing on Bill's leg at the time and I put my whole weight on
it. I heard a snap and anguished scream. I shifted my weight back to
my bad leg and collapsed on top of Bill. All he did was yell "Get
her off me, get her off me" and when I tried to make him
comfortable he yelled for security to take me away. Eventually they
took him away on a stretcher and I never saw him again. Sadly I had
to admit defeat. Three days later we left for home.
was depressed when we got home. After all the effort she put in she
was not able to get the two of them to even meet each other .
where having our last meal with aunt Margaret and mum apologized to
her for the disastrous holiday.
said aunty Margaret "I had a lovely time. I met this really nice
man and I am going out to dinner with him when I get home and his
broken leg mends. Funny thing you know" and she gave mum a
funny look "he told me of a crazy women he met that seemed
intent on killing him" and then smiled.
have come the end of my tales of disastrous holidays and I cant wait
to till you about poor Georgina's wedding day.